Using cron(8) on Mac OS X

Sep 18, 2007

I've tried to use cron(8) on Mac OS X a few times without succes. I did feel a little stupid too, cron(8) is normally very easy to use.

But now I just discovered that crontab -e doesn't work, saying—after having edited and saved the file—that “crontab: temp file must be edited in place.” And when you edit your user crontab(5) directly cron(8) naturally doesn't pick up the changes, and that is as it should be. This is what you have to do instead:

$ crontab -l > ~/crontab
$ $EDITOR ~/crontab  # Do your editing here, then save and quit.
$ crontab ~/crontab

I think that's stupid.

I've never used cron(8) like that, but I can see that it's a supported method of operation on other systems with a Vixie cron, I've just always used crontab -e.

Why did Apple break the -e option for crontab(1) like that? It seems completely pointless, so I assume they did it by accident. I should probably file a bug report, if it hasn't already been done.

Update: I filed a bugreport with Bug ID# 5489942.


Last edited: May 1, 2016


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